PrimaLoft® Bio is born, the first synthetic insulation made from 100% recycled, biodegradable fibresDeveloped over the last four years by PrimaLoft’s team of scientists and engineers, PrimaLoft achieved this textile breakthrough without altering the characteristics and performances of the insulation in any way.
In accelerated test conditions simulating a landfill environment (ASTMD5511), the PrimaLoft® Bio fibres have reached near complete biodegradation in 394 days, a highly accelerated rate as compared to the negligible degradation observed in standard polyester, under the same conditions. This proprietary technology does not change the performance, look or feel of the fabric, and is expected to be available in autumn 2020.
What actually happens to these fibres? They break down when exposed to landfill and ocean environments, because they are subjected to a brand new process that makes the fibres more attractive to the naturally occurring microbes found in these anaerobic environments. The microbes eat away at the fibres at a faster rate, returning the material to mother nature. The biodegradation process leaves behind water, methane, carbon dioxide and biomass (expired micro-organisms, organic waste). PrimaLoft® Bio is only biodegradable when exposed to microbes in landfills or ocean water, while the insulation remains highly durable throughout its usable life cycle in a garment.
Mike Joyce, president and CEO of PrimaLoft, says:
With PrimaLoft® Bio, we redefine what sustainability really means. Recycling is a good start but, we are intent on providing an even better answer to environmental issues facing our industry. This technology – one of the most significant global technological launches in the company’s history – provides a solution at the material level, which was key for our vision.
The idea was born in 2014 and took two years of research, followed by more than a year of extensive testing in an independent laboratory.
Charles Lancelot, a materials technologist who worked alongside PrimaLoft® during the various tests, explains:
PrimaLoft® Bio has the potential to transform the textile industry of the outdoor and fashion worlds. In 2014 in the United States, about 80% of discarded textile and garment waste was landfilled, accounting for nearly 8% of total waste. This advanced biodegradation technology leverages the progressive end-of-life material science and demands the attention of every apparel brand interested in reducing its environmental footprint.
PrimaLoft® Bio expands upon PrimaLoft’s commitment to being completely sustainable. To date, PrimaLoft® has saved more than 84.7 million plastic bottles from landfills and transformed them into advanced insulation technologies. By 2020, 90% of PrimaLoft® insulation products will have at least 50% of recycled content, without compromising performance. Earlier this year, PrimaLoft® introduced its first insulations with 100% recycled material.
What is PrimaLoft insulation?
PrimaLoft® is a polyester microfibre (smallest fibre in the industry). Smaller fibres trap more air, resulting in superior thermal performance and a softer feel. PrimaLoft® fibres are more compressible than other fibres in the industry. PrimaLoft® is water repellent as fibres have a proprietary treatment that reduces the amount of moisture the fibres can absorb, while at the same time changing the characteristics of the fibres so they physically repel water molecules. Since PrimaLoft® fibres absorb very little moisture, the insulation maintains the highest percentage of warmth when wet.